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`US priority is to defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan`

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Taliban exists in Afghanistan, and for ultimate peace there needs to be reconciliation.



Washington: The number one priority of the US and the Obama administration is to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the White House said.

"Because of this President`s focus on a specific mission in Afghanistan, it has been this President`s policy and this administration`s policy that the number one priority of our mission in Afghanistan is to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat al Qaeda," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

He said Taliban exists in Afghanistan, and for ultimate peace in Afghanistan there needs to be reconciliation.

"And that`s why the Obama administration has supported Afghan-led efforts towards reconciliation with the Taliban on the conditions that its members who wish to reconcile lay down their arms, denounce al Qaeda and sever all ties... And commit themselves to abiding by the Afghan constitution," he said.

The upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago, he said, would discuss steps going forward in Afghanistan.

"The President was just in Afghanistan last week and his commitment to moving forward with the strategy that he put forward that includes transferring security authority -- the security lead over to the Afghan National Security Forces and ultimately full security lead over to the Afghans by 2014 is something he described last week, and will certainly be a focus of discussion in Chicago," he said.

PTI

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